PromaxBDA is now in its fourth year of offering its leadership development program, Thrive.

Each year, a cohort of up-and-coming creative executives moves through the year-long program to hone their skills and talents in order to advance their careers. The association’s fourth cohort just completed its immersive program at Terranea in Los Angeles in October.

RELATED: The Daily Brief Podcast: How Esther Weinberg Teaches Creatives to Thrive

This year’s class of leaders are:

Libe Ackerman, former senior director, creative strategy, Nickelodeon

Benjamin Asher, creative director, production and creative, A+E

Asher runs production and brand creative for Lifetime and oversees an in-house agency for all of A+E’s brands. In his off hours, he volunteers with high-school juniors, plays kickball or practices close-up card magic tricks. He graduated from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications with a double major in television, radio and film and psychology and a minor in philosophy.

Javier Canto, senior art director, programming, Univision

In his current position, Canto oversees the entertainment and sports verticals within Univision’s art and design teams. Prior to that, he was creative director for Univision’s TeleFutura broadcast network, where he managed a staff of more than ten designers. He directed the redesign and rebranding of the network to UniMás. Canto returned the company in 1997 as senior designer and art director. Before that, he was a broadcast and senior designer at NBC’s WTVJ Miami, but he started his career at Univision as a broadcast designer. He graduated from Regis College in 1991 with a bachelor’s in fine arts with a minor in marketing.

Allison Caviness, creative director, BET

Besides her work at BET, Caviness has directed and produced documentary films and media advocacy projects in partnership with non-profit organizations on subjects such as domestic violence, prisoner’s rights, adoption and the global diamond industry. She also served as the founding director of Lesedi Film Center for New York City teens. She holds a bachelors degree in film from Howard University.

Javier de Innocentis, creative director, A+E Networks Latin America

De Innocentis started making films as a kid, and turned that passion into a career. He ran his own studio, Manco Films, where he did work for brands such as Playboy TV, Lacoste and retailers in Buenos Aires. He also worked for motion studio Pattern! as a compositor and 3D artist. Eight years ago, he joined A+E Networks Latin America where he works as a creative director for History, H2, A&E and Lifetime.

Eric Jones, creative director, on-air promos, Sundance TV

Jones started his career as an intern at Showtime Networks where he worked his up to senior writer and producer before becoming creative director at Spike TV. At Sundance, he oversees all on-air and video content.

Emma May, senior director of marketing, Turner Sports

May focuses on fans at Turner Sports, but her background also includes working for Red Bull, Nissan/infiniti, Purina, Wrigley, BMW and the NFL. She lives in Atlanta, Ga., with her dog, Rizzo.

Edward Poole, director, partnership marketing, Turner’s Adult Swim

Poole is a big fan of his animation-driven brand, where he creates innovative multi-screen marketing strategies. He also works with network and industry partners to develop cutting-edge sponsorship opportunities that support ad sales targets and drive brand equity.

Mary Jo Smith, executive creative director, comedy and alternative programming, ABC

Smith has been making marketing content for more than 15 years, and has a background as an actor, writer director and main company member of improv comedy group The Groundlings.

Russell Streit, senior writer/producer, truTV

Streit got his start scheduling commercials for MTV Networks, but his heart was set on production. He moved into scheduling promos for VH1 and worked his way into the production side of the business. After climbing the ranks to become a writer and producer, he moved to Turner’s truTV where he writes, produces and directs.

Mike Taylor-Mozer, art director, brand creative - multiplatform, Comedy Central

Taylor-Mozer has been at Comedy Central for more than a decade where he exercises his interests in graphic design, illustration, photo manipulation, music competition, audio engineering and editing.

Kristin Williams, design director, preschool (Nick Jr.), Nickelodeon

Mark Wright, creative director, CNN International Networks

Wright oversees creative output for CNN International’s five regional feeds: USA, Latin America, Europe-Middle East-Africa (EMEA), Asia and South Asia.

For more information on Thrive, contact Rachel Wyatt at rachel.wyatt@promaxbda.org. PromaxBDA accepts applications for the new class starting in early 2018 with the program to launch at PromaxBDA: The Conference in New York in June.


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